Forum begins scheme to curb tax evasion in ECOWAS

ECOWAS

The West African Tax Administration Forum (WATAF) has flagged off initiatives that would curtail tax avoidance and evasion in the sub- region as part of measures to mobilize needed resources for the development of their countries.

Already, Nigeria has volunteered to share its latest technological know-how with other member countries to realise the mandate of WATAF.

Chairman of African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) and Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Tunde Fowler, made the offer on Wednesday, in Abuja, at the 13th General Assembly of WATAF.

At the event, WATAF made its formal entry into the ranks of similar organisations focused on international collaboration in tax matters, having attained the statutory requirements spelt out in the WATAF agreement, providing for at least five countries’ ratifications for the agreement to come into force and in line with the requirements of the Vienna Convention.

Fowler said: “This is a new dawn in the consolidation of our collective aspiration to improve the standard of living of our people through effective mobilisation of available domestic tax revenue.

“Not only that, now West Africa has a platform for countries to collaborate in tax matters, solidly supported by our governments and a forum to articulate and project the West African perspective in tax administration, in the global tax arena.”

According to him, ECOWAS can leverage on Nigeria’s latest IT experiment, which he said has proven successful and “against this backdrop, it is pertinent that tax administrations in West Africa re-strategizes if they are to live up to their mandate.

“One of the viable means of checkmating the aforementioned activities is by implementing initiatives to tackle tax abuses. While the dynamics of tax administration might vary amongst countries within the West Africa sub-region, but the challenges of tax evasion and avoidance schemes are similar, hence collaboration, information and experience sharing among tax administrators across jurisdictions is valuable to addressing the high rate of abusive tax practises among our taxpayers.

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